The theater massacre in my hometown of Aurora, Colorado has had a great impact on our community. We are grieving the loss of the 12 individuals who were killed, but we’re also trying to maintain a sense of hope as we learn more about what happened, why, and what the future holds for us as a city.
Since the age of ten, I’ve called Aurora home. I graduated from high school here and moved away only to come back several times over. Today, I live here with my husband and two daughters.
It could have been me in that movie theater. It’s less than a mile from my home. Next to the mall where my toddler plays on the indoor playground. Across the street from the library with an award-winning Spanish-language collection.
But it wasn’t me. It was other mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons who were wounded or killed, tragically taken before their time. It was heroes and cowards, standing in front of a monster who intended to end their lives. It was my friend from grade school, my husband’s coworker, my Subway restaurant cashier. All gone, taken from our community.
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So, what now? Well, I’m grateful my family is safe. And though I grieve, I refuse to be scared.
Yes, we’ll go to the movies again and no, we’re not moving. I still believe that Aurora— not despite but perhaps due in part to its large Hispanic population—is one of the safest cities in the United States. As we visit the memorial site, growing by the day, I think about one of the mothers who was killed. Like me, she was a mami to two little girls, and had aspirations of becoming a social worker for children in the foster system. I think about the woman who gave birth to her first child while her husband lies in a coma in the same hospital. I think about the mother who is paralyzed, and going in and out of consciousness in the hospital, asking for her daughter, who she does not know is gone forever.
The country may be using this attack to create political debate over gun control laws and mental health funding. Not us. Not Aurora. Especially not us mothers. We’re holding each other and our children a little bit tighter. We’re letting go of grudges we’ve held since high school. We’re saying a new little prayer each night for our city and our sisters. And, above all else, we’re thankful to have our little community, the City of Aurora, to support us as we heal.